This whole off-season got off to a sour note for Atlanta Braves fans after we spent a month wagging the dog every day over whether or not Jake Peavy would have an "A" on his cap. It was a pursuit that offered up mixed feelings for Braves fans. On one hand, we would be getting an immensely talented ace pitcher to front our rotation for years to come. On the other hand, we would likely be giving up the keys to our farm system for years to come, something many fans, including me, didn't want to see happen for one player -- not after we did the same thing just 16 months earlier.
But our flirtation with this trade turned into frustration and eventually silence. From all of the reports we heard, and there were many, what the Braves offered the Padres was a substantial return for Peavy -- a top shortstop (Escobar), a top center fielder (Gorkys), a highly rated young pitcher (Locke), and reportedly a couple of other highly regarded prospects. That 5-for-1 would be the most we've ever given up for one player in a trade. But apparently, it wasn't enough.
Now, in the aftermath of the second failed Peavy trade, we get this tidbit from Tim Dierkes at MLBTR:
Talked to a person familiar with the Cubs' thinking...he really could not see the Cubs revisiting a Peavy trade. The Padres need to get Peavy's $63MM off the books soon, yet were trying to swing 6-for-1 or 7-for-1 deals for him despite the extremely limited market.
Towers doesn't seem to be operating like a GM who needs to get money off the books. We know that money is not coming off the books by trading Brian Giles, because Giles and his no-trade clause will have none of it, so the only option seems to be to get rid of Peavy... but demanding six or seven players in return -- that's unprecedented.
Towers may yet find a trade partner other than the Braves and the Cubs. The Angels are now reportedly offering a package in exchange for Peavy. This is a pretty shrewd move by the Angels, figuring that Towers may be lowering his price and getting desperate after not working out a deal with anyone yet. Or maybe the Angels' fans will discover what Braves and Cubs fans learned over the last two months, that it's a waste of time trying to figure out what Kevin Towers is trying to accomplish. No one faults him for trying to rebuild his team, but he can't possibly think it will happen by trading one player.
The Peavy situation should remind people of what transpired last year when the Twins tried to first trade Johan Santana to the Yankees and Red Sox, and after failing, finally settled on a deal to the Mets -- seemingly the last willing buyer. The prospect-rich Yanks and Sox didn't succumb to the high demands of the Twins.
There's going to be a lot of talk about getting back into the Peavy sweepstakes over the next couple of weeks, especially if, as it looks, we lose out on the A.J. Burnett bonanza, but don't be fooled into thinking that we could get him the second time around either, or that Towers will come down from his asking price. The end game here, if we lose out on Burnett, is how desperate Frank Wren will be to find the ace he covets.
We'll get to see if four days of Winter Meetings produced any fruitful talks that could develop into a trade. There are already indications that other trades may be in the works, but we'll have to wait and see. But even if we get Burnett, Frank Wren still has work to do to make this team competative. This is perhaps the biggest rebuilding job any Braves GM has faced since before 1991. With everything that has transpired this off-season, in the next two to three months, we'll get to see if Wren is really up to the task of rebuilding the Braves.